Sino Swearingen SJ30-2 has taken to the air for the first time

Sino Swearingen Aircraft's prototype SJ30-2 has been flown for the first time. President Jack Braly says that the aircraft is on course for US certification by the last quarter of 1998. Customer deliveries will follow immediately and European certification is expected by mid-1999.

The four-passenger light business jet was flown from company headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, to Victoria, Texas, on 8 November. Total flight time was 1h 31min. The prototype, which has now entered its formal flight-test programme, is powered by the 8.5kN (1,900lb)-thrust Williams-Rolls FJ44-1A engine, but Sino Swearingen plan to install 10.2kN-thrust FJ44-2As when the new engine becomes available. Two more aircraft (SN 002 and SN 003) will join the test programme in 1997.

The SJ30-2 is a revised version of the Swearingen SJ30, and is being developed at a cost of $150 million as part of a joint venture with Sino Aerospace of Taiwan.

According to vice-president, operations, Ron Neal, the original SJ30 has been stretched by 130mm, using two fuselage plugs, allowing increased fuel capacity giving the aircraft a range in excess of 4,600km (2,500nm) with one pilot and three passengers. The wing span has been increased from 11m to 15m, and the wing dihedral changed from -0.7¼to +2.3¼.

Source: Flight International